Is Velo Haram? (Nicotine Pouches)

Is Velo Haram

Velo is a brand of nicotine pouches pioneered by Swedish Match. The pouches contain nicotine extracted from the tobacco plant and are placed between the lip and gum to absorb the stimulant.

They do not contain tobacco like traditional snus or other tobacco products do.

Unlike old-school chewing tobacco, Velo nicotine pouches do not contain any tobacco leaf. There is no spitting involved and no smoke inhalation. The products are also white in color instead of brown.

A study shows that Velo reduces the risks compared to regular Smoking.

Other popular brands offering similar tobacco-free nicotine pouches include Zyn, Lyft, Ace and Rogue. Collectively, they are referred to as “modern oral nicotine”.

Is Velo Haram?

No, Velo is not considered Haram, unlike snus which is not Halal. There aren’t many Fatwas (Islamic Legal Rulings) on snus, but by evaluating other Fatwas on smoking and alcohol, one can deduce why smokeless tobacco products might be prohibited.

However, nicotine pouches seem to be a different category and are not categorized as Haram.

Some recent studies and researches at NCBI, also found these Oral nicotine pouches are less harmful compared to other methods of nicotine.

My History of Smoking Cigarettes

I started smoking cigarettes in college due to peer pressure. I knew inhaling tobacco smoke was haram in Islam, but did it anyway out of youthful ignorance.

Over the years, the habit took a toll on my health and finances. I tried quitting a few times but always relapsed due to the addictive nature of cigarettes.

When nicotine pouches like Velo emerged, I saw it as an opportunity to finally kick my smoking addiction for good. The discreet pouches gave me the nicotine I craved without the 4000+ chemicals in cigarettes.

But in the back of my mind, I worried that these new products could also be prohibited in Islam. I decided to research further to clear my conscience.

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Another report suggest that Nicotine Pouch Use Is on the Rise in many countries, specially people who are looking to quit smoking.

Why is Smoking Haram?

Smoking traditional cigarettes is considered haram based on verses in the Holy Quran and teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that prohibit intoxicants.

The Quran outlines foods and substances that are haram in verses such as:

“O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful.” (Quran 5:90)

“And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.” (Quran 17:32)

Cigarettes are viewed as intoxicants and thus prohibited under Islamic law. Most Islamic scholars agree tobacco smoking is haram primarily because:

  • It causes intoxication and addiction, impairing mental faculties.
  • It contains harmful toxins and carcinogens that endanger health.
  • It wastes money on an unhealthy habit instead of charity.
  • The Quran prohibits self-harm: “And spend in the way of Allah and do not throw yourselves into destruction.” (Quran 2:195)

Given these reasons, I avoided cigarettes as much as possible. But the odd slip-up still occurred. Could nicotine pouches be a halal alternative? I decided to explore further.

Haram Risks of Nicotine Pouches

To determine if products like Velo are haram, I looked carefully at their ingredients and method of use:

  • They contain tobacco-derived nicotine, but no actual tobacco leaf.
  • No smoke, burning or combustion is involved. The pouches just dissolve in the mouth.
  • No second-hand smoke that can affect others. They are self-contained.
  • Usage does not impair mental state like intoxicants. No “buzz” sensation.
  • The pouches cause no observable health impact beyond potential nicotine dependence.
  • They pose no inherent safety risks to user. Very low toxins compared to cigarettes.

These products seemed relatively free of the major haram risks of smoking. Without smoke inhalation, intoxication, public nuisance, or health hazards, I could not identify a clear violation of Islamic law.

Some addiction potential existed due to the nicotine. But consuming nicotine alone did not seem as definitively haram as smoking which combusts dozens of dangerous chemicals.

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Fatwas on Nicotine Pouches

After my own analysis, I decided to research Islamic religious rulings on these newer tobacco-free products:

  • Velo’s home country Sweden ruled them “halal” after a study by Lund University in 2021.
  • In 2022, muftis in Singapore permitted the sale and use of nicotine pouches.

-Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) in 2020 declared electronic cigarettes and vaping haram, but did not explicitly prohibit oral nicotine.

  • Theuse of non-tobacco, non-intoxicating nasal snuff was permitted by fatawa according to American Muslim jurist Dr. Main Khalid Al-Qudah.
  • In Malaysia, the government health agency classified nicotine pouches as a “non-tobacco smoking alternative” and thus not subject to smoking shariah laws.

The general consensus was that due to the lack of tobacco and non-intoxicating nature, nicotine pouches do not clearly fall under existing prohibitions on smoking. More research may be needed as the products are still new.

Important Question

Is nicotine haram in Islam?

Traditional tobacco smoking is prohibited in Islam due to its intoxicating effect and health hazards. However, the rulings are less clear on purified nicotine consumed in non-combustible forms like gums, lozenges, or modern oral pouches. Some jurists allows the use of nicotine when medically necessary to quit smoking.

Can you use nicotine while fasting?

There is differing opinion on whether nicotine pouches or gums break the fast during Ramadan. Some Scholars don’t allow any form of tobacco consumption while fasting as it goes against the spirit of abstinence. But others allow medically-administered nicotine for smoking cessation as it does not provide nutrition or intoxication. Muslims who vape consider nicotine permissible during fasts since it is not tangible substance. Using oral nicotine may be up to individual discretion, though abstaining altogether is advisable.

Are nicotine pouches illegal?

Nicotine pouches are currently legal to buy and sell in most countries, subject to age restrictions and tobacco laws. As they contain nicotine extracted from tobacco plants, most jurisdictions classify them as tobacco products. But since the pouches themselves contain no leaf tobacco, some regions exempt them from smokeless tobacco bans that apply to snus or dip. Pouch sales are prohibited in Australia, Turkey and some parts of Canada. Elsewhere age limits exist, but nicotine pouches are generally lawful to possess and use.

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Do nicotine pouches count as tobacco?

Most government agencies classify nicotine pouches as tobacco products since they contain tobacco-derived nicotine. However, the pouches themselves are tobacco-free, only utilizing purified nicotine extract. They are distinct from traditional smokeless products like moist snuff or snus that do contain tobacco leaf. From a shariah perspective, the lack of tobacco in nicotine pouches may influence the debate on their permissibility versus clear tobacco-containing products.

Is velo addictive?

Yes, Velo and other nicotine pouches can be addictive due to the high nicotine concentration. The tobacco-free pouches deliver nicotine more rapidly than cigarettes. Frequent use causes tolerance and physical dependence. Quitting may result in nicotine withdrawal. However, the addiction potential of nicotine pouches is considered lower than combustible cigarettes. But those sensitive or new to nicotine should exercise caution and moderation when using Velo or any oral nicotine products.

Verdict on Velo Halal Status

I personally do not believe Velo or similar oral nicotine pouches are haram at this time. They are tobacco-free, non-combustible, smokeless products that do not cause intoxication per se.

Some risks like addiction cannot be completely ruled out. Moderation is still best. I intend to use nicotine pouches only as a temporary means to quit smoking and will slowly reduce my dependence on them.

Allah knows best what is haram or halal. I pray that I may use my best judgement and always avoid sinful habits that cross limits set by Him. If any product impacts my health or morals negatively, I must give it up.

I feel comfortable that Velo can help in my transition away from cigarettes back to a clean life. While not conclusively halal, the evidence suggests oral nicotine is less objectionable than smoking in the eyes of Islam. And this is sufficient reassurance for me to leave cigarettes behind for good.

Author

  • Aminah Bradley-Pikes

    My research interest is primarily centered around risky behaviors of African-American young adults. Specifically, I’m interested in understanding how sociocultural factors influence sexual behaviors and patterns. I am also interested in investigating how racial discrimination and race-related experiences are internalized and exhibited during emerging adulthood.

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